Eco-Tourism combines “Ecosystem” and “Tourism”. It is simply a tourism which is ecologically sustainable. Eco-tourism aims to preserve and sustain the diversity of the world’s natural and cultural environments. It accommodates visitors in a way that is minimally intrusive or destructive to the environment and sustains & supports the native cultures in the locations it is operating in. (Source: http://www.incredibleindia.org/en/travel/eco-tourism#sthash.eaVt5dVH.dpuf)
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) defines Eco-tourism as “Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples.”
The major principles/objectives of Eco-Tourism are:
- Minimize physical, social, behavioral, and psychological impacts.
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Generate financial benefits for both local people and private industry.
- Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climates.
- Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities.
- Recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of the Indigenous People in your community and work in partnership with them to create empowerment. (Source: https://www.ecotourism.org/what-is-ecotourism)
Eco-Tourism is also called Green Travel, Responsible Travel or Ethical Travel.
How to be an eco-tourist?
1) Try to reach the destination in an ecologically responsible way. Consider the environment while choosing the transport. Prefer trains over airplanes.
2) Do not waste or spend the available resources in the hotel unnecessarily. Even if you have paid for them, wasteful consumption is wrong as the environment is suffering. Do not waste water and electricity. Turn off the lights that are not required and when you go out.
3) Do not waste water in the hotel. Take shorter showers, turn off the tap while shaving and brushing your teeth and re-use towels unless required to change. Try to avoid the hotel laundry as they typically wash each guest’s clothes separately, even if there are only a few items. (Source: http://greenglobaltravel.com/2012/04/17/easy-ecotourism-10-simple-steps-to-more-sustainable-travel/)
4) Do not Litter.
5) Do not pollute water bodies.
6) Carry back home only photographs, no “souvenirs” from the wild.
7) Take extra precautions that any of your activity may not disturb wildlife or natural habitats.
8) Buy local handicrafts to encourage local artists and small-scale industries.
9) Buy items that are locally produced.
10) Prefer local cuisine
11) Prefer to travel by local and environment-friendly transport. Prefer public transport.
12) Honor and Respect local traditions and customs – Follow the rules prescribed for visiting a monument or sacred place.
13) Do not take photographs without permission.
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